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BHA: In Rubber, Embalming Fluid, Nicotine Patches and Processed Foods!

Published on Tuesday, 08 October 2013 18:18

What do rubber products, petroleum products, embalming fluid and nicotine patches have in common with processed foods?  Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)


The synthetic antioxidant Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) is permitted in processed foods and beverages at “very low levels”.  It is also used in the manufacturing of rubber and petroleum products, embalming fluid and nicotine patches.   Don’t you just love learning that the foods we consume contain ingredients used to produce non-food items that we’re never meant to ingest?

BHA has problems that go beyond the idea that it is used in our foods as well as in rubber and oil-based products that are definitely not food.  The real conundrum is that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has included it in its GRAS list (generally recognized as safe), but the National Institutes of Health have designated it as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.”   Confusing????  We think so.

BHA is a relatively common preservative.  You can find it listed on ingredient lists for just about any food category:  baked goods, cereals, drink mixes, cake mixes, instant mashed potatoes, canned meats, potato chips … we could go on and one.   It’s widely used because it’s effective and inexpensive for food manufacturers.

Synthetic antioxidants like BHA work to slow down the oxidation of processed foods, helping them to remain fresh for a longer period of time.  BHA is one of the reasons that some canned and boxed products have incredibly long shelf lives.

In addition to being identified as a possible human carcinogen, BHA has been linked to numerous other possible side effects.  These have included:  the exacerbation of ADHD symptoms, allergic reactions, fatigue, asthma symptoms, dermatitis, migraines and chronic headaches and gastrointestinal difficulties.

To recap:  BHA is used in rubber and oil-based products, embalming fluids and nicotine patches (as well as a whole host of other non-food items).  It is considered a probable human carcinogen.  Many people have experienced unpleasant side effects from consuming foods containing BHA.

This puts Butylated Hydroxyanisole on our list of food ingredients it’s smart to avoid.

Visit The Rak Foundation for Nutritional Awareness for more information on how we can change the way America eats!